Our recent investigation into the lack of basic internet across East Central Minnesota begged the question: what can be done?
For one man and the township he lives in the answer was simple: try.
Sunrise Township resident Ted Krause spent the last three years with fellow citizens and Chisago County officials petitioning for internet availability in the area. After endless door-knocking and the pursuit of grants and bonds, Krause finally got his wish two weeks ago when fiber was run to his home.
Krause said if other townships and cities where internet is sparse want to follow suit, they need to band together.
"Showing demand, showing people want it - this was a total citizens' push here in Sunrise."
Some that didn’t see a need for internet in Sunrise Township are now warming to the idea.
“Some of the people that were like 'yeah, we don't really need it', they're starting to get connected to it. They're realizing that what we told them: to get fiber to the home and get these kinds of speeds and stability - it's the real deal. The tune is changing slowly here in the Township."
Krause said taxes were increased in the area by $100 a year, but estimated he'd be saving $150 a month as he can now efficiently work from home. The total cost per household is essentially $1000 over the 10 year bond ($100 per year).
And to those that are still skeptical, Krause said it's all about education on the issue.
"There's a lot of apprehension. The people that don't understand the internet that think that it's not a value, they think it's expensive. It's just a matter of getting the facts and proving the need that real broadband internet is needed throughout."
For Krause and so many others, persistence, hard work, and dedication paid off in the end.
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota put together a short feature on Sunrise Township that you can watch below: